How To Make Ksh.100,000 Per Month On 1/8th Acre Land Strawberry Farm
Strawberry farming has huge income potential and can easily turn you from a job-seeker to a job-creator or from an employee to an employer in less than 12 months.
Would you like to find out how? Keep reading the next few paragraphs.
The small red fruits arrest the eye as George Muturi, one of the renowned strawberry farmers in Kenya, puts them in a plastic container in his farm in Iganjo, Nyeri County.
He picks the strawberries from their vines one by one and later drops them in the container.
“The strawberries I will harvest from this small portion of land are enough to fill this 40 litre container,” says Muturi as he walks in his farm picking the fruits.
Soon, the farmer fills the container. He carries the fruits into his house for storage before returning for more.
“Strawberry farming is a good venture. The returns are good because the market in Kenya is largely undersupplied. I sell mainly to supermarkets.’ says George Muturi
Muturi shifted from cabbage farming to strawberry after incurring losses.
“It was about four years ago. I would plant cabbages, but they would not do well. I shared my frustrations with a friend and he introduced me to strawberry farming,” says Muturi, who is based in Iganjo, Mathira East.
“I used to make between Sh.10,000 and Sh.15,000 after every harvest of my cabbages. Now I harvest at least 100kg of strawberry a month.”
He isolates supermarkets, groceries and factories that make juice as markets for the fruits.
“There is also good market if one can manage to export the fruits,” Muturi, who harvests and packs between 500 and 700 pallets of strawberry each day from his three-quarter acre farm, says.
Muturi buys more berries from some 20 farmers in the village, who he has recruited into the business, including Mary Nyawira, who sells 65kg a day from her half-acre farm.
There are three types of strawberries namely Junebearing, Everbearing and Daily Neutral. Most farmers in Iganjo grow the Daily Neutral type.
“I started with Everbearing but the yields were not much. Unlike Daily Neutral, Everbearing could not resist the cold season in Nyeri.”
With the help of four workers, whom he hires every day at Sh.200 per person, Muturi starts picking the red-ripe berries at noon.
Once he is done on the farm, he packs them in the pallets, which he arranges in cartons for transportation to the market.
“Strawberry ripen every day, the reason why we must harvest. Once they mature after three months, you can harvest them continuously for three years before uprooting and planting new ones,” he says.
Strawberries grow well when the weather is dry.
“I make more money when the weather is hot. Every month I earn more than Ksh.100,000, but this increases during the dry season.”
Muturi also sells his strawberries in Nairobi. He transports them from Nyeri every day at 3.am. He starts the journey early so that he can sell the fruits when they are still fresh.
“This gives me enough time to return to my farm, tend to the crops and plan for the next trip.”
Currently, a kilo of the berries goes for Sh.400, and on a good day, he can sell 200kg, out of which 120kg are from his farm.
Some of the supermarkets that buy his produce are Naivas, Jamaa, Magunas and some new upcoming supermarkets.
Strawberries can grow in almost every part of our country provided there is constant water supply and stable temperature in the range of 10 – 30 degrees Celsius.
*Step 1: Getting Started*
Of course, you need some land to plant your strawberry crop. 1/8th of an acre would be adequate for a beginner but if you are in an urban setting you can invest in a few containers (which you can then put in your backyard) and start farming.
Once you have secured a good piece of land in a place that has adequate water supply start looking for seedlings. The best variety to go for is “Chandelier Strawberry” which is perfectly suited for the Kenyan environment.
You will require about 3,000 seedlings for a 1/8th piece of land. Given that each seedling costs Ksh.10 then your minimum investment in seedlings alone will cost you about Ksh.30,000.
On top of the cost of purchasing seedlings you’ll need to add an extra Ksh.15,000 for transport, fertilizer and agro-chemicals.
*Step 2: Prepare The Land*
Till the land, remove weeds and then soften the soil. Later on, add some manure (rabbit, sheep, goat or cow manure will work) and ash to ensure a healthy supply of nutrients to your crop.
Proceed to plant your strawberry seedlings leaving a distance of 30cm in between rows. Also, leave at least 50cm space between any two sections of the farm.
*Step 3: Look For Market Early Enough*
It takes about 70 days for the crop to mature and produce the first fruits. But because the fruits are highly perishable (stays fresh for 4-5 days after harvesting), it is advisable to start looking for market early enough to avoid incurring losses.
Demand is readily available in major urban markets especially among green-grocery suppliers. You can also access a larger market by marketing to companies like Brookside, Trufood, KCC and major supermarket chains. In that case, you will require to invest in good packaging and get accreditation from The Kenya Bureau of Standards.
*Step 4: Harvesting and Selling Your Produce*
A 1/8th piece of land can produce between 30kg and 50kg of strawberries per week and each kilo goes for about a minimum of Ksh.200 and can rise up to Ksh.400 depending on demand.
Now assuming your small farm produces 50Kgs per week then that means you can make a minimum of Ksh.40,000 per month using only a very small portion of your land.
Moreover, you can increase your farm’s productivity by investing in aquaponics through which you can triple the productivity of your farm to make at least a minimum of Ksh.100,000 per month on just 1/8th of an acre.
It is possible to recover your initial investment (or break-even) within just 6 months of starting the farm!
You don’t have to be an agriculture expert to succeed in Strawberry farming in Kenya. All you need to do is find a good piece of land (e.g. in Isinya, Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru, Naivasha, Kilifi…or simply anywhere near a potential market).
Then you need to source for the right seedlings – and this is where you need to contact KARI for assistance. Alternatively, you can talk to other successful farmers in your region for assistance in sourcing for the right crop.
What about marketing? Package your product nicely, take a few photos and post on various market-based Facebook groups. Also, carry a sample of your product with you and take it directly to your potential buyers.
Invest in a few business cards or fliers that you can leave with your potential customers so that they can contact you when need arises.
If you’re out there wondering what business to do with your little capital, don’t let this opportunity pass you. Start small today and good things will come your way!
Business Man & Mentor